Mosquito population lower in Calgary
Published Thursday, August 4, 2016 8:18AM MDT
Despite a lot of moisture through July and the first part of August, a common summer pest is still scarcely seen in Calgary.
Experts in the city say that mosquito populations are only 10 to 20 percent of normal levels and temperatures could be the reason.
John Swann, the manager of the Invertebrates Section at the Zoology program at the University of Calgary, says the temperature was far from optimal for the insects.
“I think we have had about 280 percent the normal amount [of rain] for July,” Swann said. “If you think about it, it was also cold and miserable for Stampede. So that isn’t optimal temperatures for mosquitoes.”
The city has also sprayed pesticides to kill mosquitoes twice in the 2016 season; once at the end of May and again just before Stampede.
The chemical is harmless to mammals, but extremely effective against the bugs in the larval stage.
Jim Watts, an entomologist with the City of Calgary, says Calgarians are likely out of the way of the natural peak of the mosquito population.
“Just because of the rain events recently, that spike may be delayed a little bit, but we will see rapid decline.”
Even if the populations do climb, experts say that by the time we get to normal levels in Calgary, a frost will likely come in to knock them back down.
As for illnesses, there have been no cases of West Nile in Alberta since 2014 and all 16 cases of the Zika virus in the province have all been travel-related.
The species of mosquito that carries the Zika virus is not native to Alberta.